Water is a critical component for the healthy functioning of your body and is essential for human survival. It helps remove waste, regulates body temperature, and also aids in digestion. First, however, you must know what kind of water you’re drinking. Some contaminants can make you sick if consumed in large quantities over time. Below are some severe health issues that arise from consuming contaminated water:


Diarrhea is one of the most common side effects of consuming contaminated water. Bacteria, parasites, or viruses can cause it. When you have diarrhea, the microscopic organisms in your body are released into your intestines and bloodstream. The released organisms cause several symptoms, including nausea, cramps, and pain in your abdomen and lower back area.

If left untreated for long periods (months), diarrhea can lead to dehydration which can lead to malnutrition. It is a condition with insufficient nutrients in your body to provide energy for normal bodily functions. Death may also occur in extreme cases where dehydration occurs over a prolonged period (weeks).

Only 2.2 billion people presently have access to safe drinking water, according to the WHO. In addition, by 2025, half of humankind will live in areas with a water shortage. Water contamination has made the issue even worse. It is a big problem where it could be tough for people to survive in the future if conservation is not given priority.


Cancer is a disease that develops in cells and can spread to other parts of the body. Physical or chemical factors, such as radiation, chemicals, viruses, and certain gene changes, cause it.

Also, it can be caused by contaminated water that contains toxic chemicals. If your symptoms are severe enough to warrant medical attention, and you notice any changes in the frequency or consistency of bowel movements, you’ve likely been exposed to it.

The contamination could include sewage overflow into nearby waterways and runoff from farms and ranches with animal waste. Another major factor is the spills from industrial sites and factories. For instance, the Camp Lejeune water issue in North Carolina is an example of such contamination, harming the locals excessively due to the spilling of toxic chemicals called VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).

Many diseases and health conditions are being noted to be caused by VOCs. Seeking a doctor for immediate medical attention is advised as soon as any symptoms are to be found. Some types of cancer and symptoms of Camp Lejeune water contamination are known to be as follows:

  • Esophageal Cancer – Symptoms include trouble swallowing, weight loss, and back or throat discomfort.
  • Kidney Cancer – Symptoms include a lump in the belly, side soreness, and blood in the urine.
  • Liver Cancer – Symptoms include jaundice, weariness, abdominal discomfort, and weight loss.
  • Adult Leukemia – Symptoms include weakness, fever, weight loss, and easy bleeding or bruising.
  • Breast Cancer – Symptoms include alterations in the breasts’ size or form, alterations in the skin’s texture, lumps in the breasts, and secretion.

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Dysentery is an infection of the intestines that causes severe diarrhea. Various bacteria, viruses, and parasites like e-coli can cause it. It’s also known as bacillary dysentery, which means its bacteria cause it. The most common type is shigella, which can spread through contaminated food or water sources.

Dysentery usually starts with abdominal pains and cramps, followed by nausea, vomiting, and feverishness. The symptoms are generally watery diarrhea with frequent stools, more than three per day, often accompanied by blood in the stool, called hemorrhoids.

According to Science Direct, in developing countries, it is seen that polluted drinking water is to blame for around 80% of illnesses and more than one-third of mortality. This fact is alarming; therefore, if you have any such symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately.


A skin rash is an inflammation of the skin. It can appear as redness, itching, blisters, and swelling. The most common causes of skin rashes are allergies, reactions to cosmetics or detergents, and viral infections that spread through small breaks in your skin, e.g., chickenpox or shingles.

A severe illness known as dermatitis develops when a person’s immune system reacts abnormally to something it comes into contact with. In this case, it could be a waterborne microorganism that has entered your body through contaminated drinking water or recreational activities where you were exposed to contaminated water through swimming.


Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. The condition often causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms can be severe and may include fever.

It’s vital to differentiate between food poisoning and gastroenteritis as they are not the same. Although both cause gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, food poisoning is caused by a single-celled organism called Clostridium perfringens. It produces toxins that can cause vomiting within six hours after having contaminated water or food.

Renal Toxicity

The effects of renal toxicity on humans have been studied and documented. The most common example is the poisoning that can occur when drinking water that contains nitrates or nitrites, which are often naturally present in well water. Another cause of renal toxicity is exposure to heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic.

The symptoms associated with renal toxicity are vomiting, loss of appetite, and diarrhea, but these symptoms are generally less severe than those caused by acute gastrointestinal illness. Nevertheless, if you suspect your health may suffer from this contamination from consuming contaminated water, it is best to consult a doctor immediately. He or she can help determine what course of action needs to be taken.

Contaminated Water Can Have a Devastating Effect on Health

According to Environmental Integrity, pollution has a detrimental influence on more than 700,000 miles of waterways, roughly 51% of analyzed river and stream miles. Thus, by drinking contaminated water, you can get sick and can cause you significant harm. Not to forget that contaminated water can lead to diseases like Cancer, Dermatitis, Diarrhea, and many more mentioned in the article.

It is crucial to educate yourself about the dangers of contaminated drinking water and take steps to ensure your family doesn’t fall victim to its effects. You can avoid getting sick from it by neither drinking nor using it for cooking. Also, keeping your water reserves clean can solve the issue. If you have consumed it, to prevent the sickness from worsening, see your doctor for treatment as soon as possible.